Thursday, May 9, 2013

A full life and a full time job...

I'm not sure where I first read that homeschooling is a full-time job, but I believe them now. It's not that I didn't believe them before, it's just that I had no frame of reference.

Consider my reference suitably framed.

The last time I was a full-time working mom, I was in my 30s with two girls, ages 12 and 16. I was out of the "trenches" of baby mothering and my girls were in public school, so that was nicely out of my hands. Of course, I still had the brunt of teenaged escapades to come (and had NO idea how hard THAT was going to be), but going to work didn't kill me. Actually, in a way, it saved me because it was an escape to a world that was just "me" without the name "mom" attached - well, most of the time.

So, after 16 years of being a working mom, I had a vague idea of what full-time work was going to be like. However. This has been different.

After teaching homeschool to my two boys for almost a full year, I can honestly say I never imagined it would be this hard. And it has taken over our lives and our home as if I did have a full-time job right in the house. Our house is not neat. It is not clean. It is held together with bubblegum and bandaids until we finish our curriculum at the end of this month and I can do emergency surgery on the bathrooms and kitchen. After being a SAHM for a decade, I never realized before how much I actually accomplished at home when they were out of the house for preschool/school/camp/etc. This year I had exactly one hour a week when they were not in my hands - when they went to homeschool PE class at the Y. I usually work out in heavenly peace while they are there, but lately I've just been in recovery mode during that time and try to just deep breath while I walk around Target or Barnes and Noble for an hour. And shop. Don't forget shopping. That definitely helps.

But as I limped out of bed this morning trying to wrap my head around the day ahead and decide which subjects we NEEDED to do today and which we SHOULD do today and which chores I would TRY to squeeze in between classes before I'm too tired to make dinner tonight...I realized I have a full-time job that I never planned on having. I knew that having two more babies in my forties AND working was impossible, so my husband and I worked it out financially so I could stay home until they were in school. HA!

Then came my autoimmune diagnosis. And my older son's ADD and PDD/NOS diagnosis. And then the recession! So now I'm working full-time anyway - for NO money - AND being a full-time SAHM to boot. Wow. How the heck did that happen?

Well, don't let anyone tell you that homeschooling isn't a job. Yes, we sleep late and go to bed at night when it suits us. Yes, we can swap history for bike-riding on a nice day and go on field trips wherever we want and always get to chaperone :). Yes, we have no evening or weekend homework/book report/science project stress from meeting someone else's deadlines. But the schoolwork gets done and the housework doesn't. And I'm dog tired and need a vacation.

Yep, this is definitely a full-time job. And come to think of it, the best one I've ever had :)

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